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Diversified Search Group on Today’s Higher Education Challenges

This spring, Diversified Search Group consultants Shelly Weiss Storbeck, Ralph E. Tavares, Jr., and Ruth Shoemaker Wood contributed to Hunt Scanlon’s 2022 Higher Education Report. In this detailed industry report, editors from Hunt Scanlon Media, a news network for the executive search and talent management sector, addressed the topic of the growing complexity of leadership roles in today’s colleges and universities.

In the Foreword, Diversified Search Group’s Global Education Practice Lead and Managing Director Shelly Weiss Storbeck writes: “Success in leading executive searches in higher education is often contingent on a search consultant’s ability to recognize that the educational landscape has changed — and to adapt accordingly. Just as we have all been forced to spend the better part of two years modifying our behaviors to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, so have our recruiters been confronted with pandemic-borne exigencies — including the Great Resignation and the Baby Boomer retirement surge — that pose new challenges requiring new adaptations and nimble solutions.”

New expectations have emerged around flexibility and work-life balance. “When the hiring institution shows little flexibility, candidates are not shy about saying, ‘This won’t work for me,’” says Storbeck Search | Diversified Search Group Managing Director Ruth Shoemaker Wood. “At the same time, I’m hearing from campuses a real desire to have a new leader come in and be a visible presence. I am curious, looking at 2022 and beyond, if campuses are going to be able to hold that line or if they are going to be forced to be more flexible in order to attract outstanding candidates.”

In a Viewpoint chapter titled, “Executive Search Specialist as Translator and Educator,” Shelly and Ruth are joined by Ralph E. Tavares, Jr., for a “closer look at president and chancellor searches and campus culture.” They discuss board and faculty dynamics, diversity and equity concerns, and more.

We invite you to read the full report (the Viewpoint starts on page 33) here:


Shelly Weiss Storbeck, Global Education Practice Lead at Diversified Search Group, has one of the most widely recognized names in the higher education sector, having recruited senior leaders for America’s most prestigious colleges and universities. In 2021 she received the ACE Donna Shavlik Award in recognition of her commitment to advancing women in higher education leadership roles.

Ruth Shoemaker Wood, Managing Director, brings scholarly training and hands-on experience to her understanding of the higher education landscape.

Ralph E. Tavares Jr., Managing Associate, Equity and Inclusive Excellence, is a problem solver who meets challenges with enthusiasm and an open heart. Spending nearly two decades creating equity in and access to higher education for students of color, Ralph has played critical roles in developing multicultural recruitment, retention, and mentoring plans and programs.